Friday, March 9, 2012

the comfort of cheese

Are you relieved to see something on this blog other than quizzical apple-nut-pretzel cookies?  We'd gotten a bit behind.  A week behind, to be precise.  Somewhere along the way those missing recipes will be repaid in full.  Just not, perhaps, during a week when major birthday parties are being planned and children are sick and refusing to nap.  Those are not the sorts of weeks that free time is made of.

But, those are the sorts of weeks that, demand...easy, cheesy, comforting fare.  And mozzarella sticks just might be the ultimate in comfort food.  So, it was with a sigh of comfort and relief that I took a taste of these baked cheese sticks as they came out of the oven crispy, gooey, and hot.  (Of course, my sense of calm was also aided along by the fact that our boy has finally decided that naps are once again a good idea.  A week-long "nap strike" is enough to put any mama on edge and in need of comfort food.)

To make matters all the better, these snacks are not greasy, deep-fried, or heavy.  They're baked and made from low-sodium cheese.  Does that sound like an insult to the very term "mozzarella stick"?  I assure you, it's not.  When a girl can find a comfort food that is not only delicious and calming but also healthy, she knows she has a winner.  Enter these mozzarella sticks.

I had only one bone to pick with this recipe: I found myself having a bit of an issue with the bread crumbs.  The first cheese sticks to be rolled in the batter picked up the finer seasoned bread crumbs, leaving a rather chunky mix of panko crumbs for the final sticks. Toward the end, I decided to throw a little more of the regular bread crumbs into the mixture, but the panko still made up the majority of the breading for those final sticks.  This didn't effect the flavor in any negative way, but it just made them more susceptible to melting out of the batter.  Maybe I simply have to work on my cheese-battering-skills!  Regardless, they tasted great and healthy and, of course, very comforting.

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